Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Monster - 2009 Garden Stunner

So, I followed the guidelines for soil preparation put forth in "How to grow more fruits and vegetables" using the "grow bio-intensive" method. It was a lot of hard work as the soil here is just about 100% clay. But, judging by the pictures below, it was worth it. Not only did I have a bumper crop of radish seed pods, tomatoes and acorn squash, my carrots, which never do well in the clay, were phenomenal!

Check out this ginormous specimen.

2 inches wide...

16 1/2 inches long.

What's most interesting is I did have some of the short carrots I usually get - notably orange. The Big Carrot of 2009 and many of its lanky brethren were quite pink on the outside and yellow on the inside, and much sweeter than the usual orange carrots. And the seed all came from the same package.

While preparing the soil was a lot of work this spring, turning the garden under by hand today was a dream. The texture of the soil is so rich and light from not having been walked on all summer. It's going to be amazing for our next year garden. I'm toying with the idea of putting in some winter wheat but I don't know where to get it in seed form.

Some things did not do well in the dense planting plan used with the double dug soil. Beats, swiss chard and onions did not quite take to the soil. In the past, with mostly just tilled clay, we've had tennis ball sized beats. This year produced only acorn to ping-pong ball sized specimens. The swiss chard I think cares more about space around it than the depth the soil is dug to as they typically put down very deep roots even in hard soil.

Other good performers were lettuce and Basil. Lettuce I planted from seed and the basil from starts. I took the opportunity to harvest a good about of the basil seeds so maybe we can grow it from seed next year.

Another great performer was the purple bush beans. We had plenty to eat from 20 bushes and I was able to get a good number of seeds from what dried on the vine to start us out next year. Will probably put in 60 plants next year and try to put them on the menu more often.

No comments: